Ibu Kartini

Ibu Kartini was a leading feminist of Indonesia, born at a time where women received little to no education at all. She rebelled against society and inspired women to achieve more than they thought they could.

Ibu Kartini enrolled in a Dutch school in the late 1800s, but was told to discontinue after the age of 12 as women were to focus on house chores instead. During this time, she made the most from her permission to participate in embroidery lessons and reading books (uncommon at the time) – which led to her growing concern for women’s education in Indonesia. Through the books and articles she read, she was fond of the Western world’s appreciation of education and was determined to bring in a similar mindset to Indonesia.

This led to the establishment of her school, which catered to teaching women how to read and write. Ibu Kartini was determined to stand her ground on the belief that despite gender and socioeconomic background, everyone should have the right to be educated. Unfortunately, her school foundation was only short-lived as she passed away at the age of 25 when giving birth to her son.

Ibu Kartini was most well known for her written letters that she’d send to her Dutch friends in Holland during the early 1900s. She often discussed topics about the Javanese being anti-education at the time, or the restrictive and hierarchical world her people had to live in. These pieces of writing have now become a legacy in the present day, as a collection of her letters have been published in various languages globally.

Her progressive mindset has led as an example for countless women in Indonesia, and her enthusiasm for nationalism set the tone for the country from then on. Today, Kartini Day on April 21, is declared a National Holiday in respect to advocating for women’s’ rights.

Artist: Lisa Taranchenko, from USA